The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is pressing for a speedy end to the “exploitation” of Psychiatric Hospital nurses who have not been paid for up to six months, General Secretary of the NUPW Roslyn Smith said tonight.
The top civil servant in the Ministry of Health is said to be looking into the case, Barbados TODAY has been told.
Smith sent the names of the nurses to the Personnel Administration Division which were then placed in the Government’s electronic payroll system, she said.
“But there are other persons that I understand, that it has something to do with the appraisal of the workers in order that the information can be sent on for them to be paid,” she said.
The appraisal is a personnel function within the Psychiatric Hospital which, Smith said, has to be addressed urgently.
“When it comes to workers working six months, nine months and not being paid, it is an area of concern because persons are then expected to be at work, appearing in the appropriate uniform,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“You have [to buy] toiletries and other things that make you fit for work. And you are just going and you still have you mortgage and your rent to pay and no money. I don’t take that lightly. That is like exploitation,” she added.
The union leader said she will be pushing for the nurses to be paid especially considering that other public sector employees have been given their salaries complete with the Government’s five per cent increase while the psychiatric nurses have not even received their normal monthly pay.
“It is a lopsided affair. So, I am trying to bring balance to the whole thing that those workers be paid their salary. Other persons have received the five per cent and looking towards receiving the back pay . . . so we are trying to have a level playing field,” the NUPW general secretary said.
“You can’t be working that length of time and people [employers] now trying to get you on to the system to be paid because you are prompted. People are paid to do that job and I am quite sure those persons who are given that task and they fail to do it and you had to hold back their salary until that is done, it would be another story. So it is a thing of looking after your brother,” Smith contended.
She expressed concern about the sloth with which administrative personnel logged the unpaid nurses into the payroll system so they could be paid.
“You getting paid and you know that their destiny is in your hands to be paid and you are not making an effort to have it done. That is fundamentally wrong,” she said.
The Barbados Nurses Association said it was also looking into the case of the unpaid caregivers.
“We will be investigating the matter,” said president Joannah Waterman.
The director of the Psychiatric Hospital David Leacock told Barbados TODAY the matter was being addressed by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health.